Hollow featured in “New Digital Storytelling” series in Filmmaker Magazine: The fine folks at the MIT Open Doc Lab asked us to contribute to the series and we’re super excited about the final piece. The series will continue throughout the year!
"Beautiful McDowell County" photo exhibit has moved from Charleston to Bramwell, West Virginia: The exhibit, which features photography by Betty Rivard and myself, will open on March 18 at the Coal Heritage Interpretive Center in the Bramwell Depot. The exhibit will be on display through May 11.Tomorrow (Tues. 3/19), an artist reception with Betty Rivard will be held from 5:30-7:30 PM at the depot.
2013 WVU Short Film Fest: This past weekend I traveled to Morgantown to screen two short pieces fromHollow and take part in a panel discussion about Appalachian identity. It was great to meet Martha Stephens, a talented Appalachian filmmaker and writer/director of Pilgrim Song.
Tribeca Film Fest: In late April, we will be attending the Tribeca Film Festival to represent Hollow. I will provide more details closer to the date!
SXSW Interactive and Film Festival: Last week, I had the pleasure to serve as a digital media and film mentor at the SXSW film festival in Austin, Texas. The trip was an amazing experience and I was so surprised to meet people who already knew about Hollow. It was also great to be able to meet several of our Kickstarter backers in Austin, including Mike Andrick and Dan Mistich.
West Virginia University’s School of Journalism invited me to come to campus yesterday and screen “Tales of an AP Journalist" at a George Esper memorial event. When I started the film in April of 2011, I never thought George would not be around to see the final product. However, before he passed away in February he had seen every cut and bragged about how much he loved it. People who had known George for years said that they learned things about him last night that they never knew before.
It was so great to see familiar faces and so many people come out for the screening. By the time credits rolled, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room…a true testament to Esper’s impact on everyone. The only complaint was, “It needs to be longer!”
Before heading back up to Boston today, Christa Vincent interviewed me about HOLLOW and my experience at the J-School (I graduated 4 years ago). Here are some screenshots from the shoot by the very talented photographer and videographer, Alex Wilson.
Our Kickstarter backers who chose the postcard reward can look forward to receiving one within the next few weeks! We just got the shipment in today :)
Next Wednesday, I am wrapping up production here in McDowell. Then I’m making the hike back up to Boston for post-production with the team!
We’re very excited to move onto the next phase of production for “Hollow” but saying goodbye (for now) to this awesome community is very hard. We know that just because “production” is ending doesn’t mean our connections with the community will end. This past week I have been training the five community video coordinators who will be in charge of distributing cameras and training new residents while we are away. We have spread the cameras all across the county to insure that the tools are accessible to everyone.
Thanks for your continued support!
P.S. The deadline for our SXSW panel picker has been extended to September 3. If you haven’t already, please take the time to vote and feel free to share your thoughts on why you support this participatory documentary with the judges! We have had great response already thanks to the residents here in McDowell.
Mary McKinney’s drawings of her “future McDowell.” Really inspiring documents here, folks. This is just a few examples of ideas for Keystone and Landgraff out of a whole package she gave me. I dare anyone to tell me the people of McDowell don’t have ideas for improving their communities. It’s time we take these ideas to those in power and make things happen in the coalfields.
Workshop 3 participants! These folks are working toward a more positive future for McDowell County.
(Left to Right back row) Shawn Penwarden, Tom Acosta, Brenda Goodson, Ron Serino, Mary McKinney, Gilbert Nash, Alan Johnston, Linda McKinney. (Left to Right front row) Michelle Miller, Matthew Goodson, Megan Bowers, Patricia Blevins, Renee Bolden, Elaine McMillion.
"On the day I visited, the documentary makers were holding a story telling seminar to better enable the community participants to reflect on their lives in a way that would convey their experiences in McDowell County through its many ups and downs.
Present was a wonderful mix of all ethnicities, including Irish, Italian, Indian, German, and African American that reflected the impressive array of people that came to McDowell County in the past seeking their fortunes.
From ages 13 to 80, the participants all gathered in hopes of learning how they could convey their pride in their community and how to tell that in a format that would be available for all to enjoy.
The more I talked to the people the more I realized they were all community minded, each holding at least one position in their community, if not more, that was directly responsible for insuring and bettering the welfare of the rest of the community.
Participants were from law enforcement, health care, teaching, county government, and the local food bank, just to name a few. More importantly, they shared a real enthusiasm for the project that was obvious in their words and actions.
As work on “Hollow” continues, I am left with this thought; they say one person can change the world. If this is true, we definitely have not heard the last of McDowell County West Virginia, because I recently met a room full of earth shakers there.”
Ron Serino at the “stairsteps” near Ashland, W.Va. This former strip mine has become a popular place for ATV-riders on the weekend. However, ATV fatalities continue to increase as the Northfork Volunteer Fire Department struggles to gain access and promptly evacuate the injured without a UTV. They have been washing four-wheelers for $3 each to raise money to purchase a UTV. The land (above) is a reclaimed mine and is still owned by the coal company who turns a blind eye to the drug use, alcohol abuse and “chaos” that occurs here on the weekends. Ron said he doubts they will ever pay attention unless there is a lawsuit filed against them. In the past, Ron and his fellow firefighters have carried injured riders out for miles to save their lives. This past Saturday, a rider died just yards from here. Want to help? email firstname.lastname@example.org